Raven-Symoné & Dr. Ben Carson Released, says the black delegation

The 2015 racial draft is amongst us. It’s official. The black delegation has decided that we are releasing Raven-Symoné and Dr. Ben Carson. They are now American free agents. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired of them. They rather conform to Americanism and belittle blackness at every turn. We’ve decided that we’re a better team without them. 

The black delegation knows that many of you have read Dr. Ben Carson’s autobiography, Gifted Hands for inspiration. You’ve connected with him as you read about his struggles and triumphs on his way to greatness. His story is well-documented. His mother proudly raised two boys with the help of public assistance to make ends meet. He was considered the ‘dumb student’ until his mother required him to read two books a week. He had a violent temper that led to near stabbing incident of friend over a radio station. He received a scholarship to Yale University where he felt isolated and alone. But he overcame all of these obstacles to become a pioneering neurosurgeon at John Hopkins’, one of the best medical institutions in the world. All of which made Dr. Ben Carson symbol of inspiration and hope.

Ben CarsonAnd throughout his career at John Hopkins’, Dr. Carson continued to give back to the black community by going to inner-city schools encouraging kids to be their best selves. New York Bestseller author for Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates who grew up in Baltimore admired Dr. Carson for talking to the young people to let them know there were more to life than the streets. INSPIRATION! But then he started to attack Barack Obama in ways not even his white counterparts couldn’t with the exception of the uncensored bigot, Donald Trump. Carson had the audacity to say that the Affordable Care Act (affectionately known as Obamacare) was ‘the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”

We could not believe Carson who has been a victim of racism compare universal health care to slavery. But more than that Carson is a hypocrite. We think that Dr. Ben Carson forgot that he benefited from welfare and affirmative action. Dr. Benjamin Carson has decided to close the door of opportunity that millions died and fought for him to get him through. He chooses to disregard that he benefitted from same social programs that he wants to get rid. So we are done. It is not his affiliation with the Republican party. We always knew he was conservative, for he always believed his values of faith, family and self-reliance helped him to get to his prominence. It did. He also needs to acknowledge that affirmative action and public assistance helped him. 

But Carson’s insistence to be included to be a part of America blinds him to the reality of being black in America. Let’s ask Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Freddie Gray. Oh yeah, we can’t. Their lives were cut short because they were executed for being black. Ben Carson doesn’t want to address the disproportionate risk blacks face of death at the hands of the police. We think he feels he is exonerated. Let us remind him that in 2009 Yale graduate and Harvard professor, Dr. Henry Louis Gates was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for trying to get in his house. Since Dr. Ben Carson wants to be American, we’ve severed ties with him. You’re free, Ben, to sign with any other delegation that will have you.

raven-symoné rooster hairNow let’s get to Raven-Symoné. In the last 6 months she’s defended Univision’s Rodner Figueroa’s statement that Michelle Obama looked like a member of the Planet of the Apes cast. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey despite her racial origin and her same-sex relationship, she did not want to limit herself being labeled as African-American or gay. Since she was 4, we fell in love with Olivia, the cute precocious child on The Cosby Show. Did we know Raven-Symoné? How could we? She was only four.

Raven-Symoné grew up in front of eyes first as Olivia on The Cosby Show then as Nicole Lee on Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. But it was her stint on the Disney Channel that made Raven-Symoné so famous. She started with a voice role of Monique on Kim Possible. Then she auditioned for a part that became That’s So Raven which spawned a franchise of soundtracks, dolls, episode videos and video games. This led to multiple Disney roles and albums with a Disney-based record company which yielded a lot of money. Yes, we know her professionally, but we really never knew who Raven-Symoné was until now. She’s telling us who she is, and we should believe her.

Yesterday Raven-Symoné got more public heat for her comments in the Hot Topics segment for refusing to hire anyone with ‘ghetto names’. But this is discrimination. This is racist behavior. This was our last straw with Raven-Symoné. Maybe she’s in denial about her own name. Maybe she’s immersed herself in the privilege that her money has afforded her, for she’s never been a child of struggle. She’s never had to put her name on a job application to just make ends meet. Obviously, she lives in a bubble of a post-racial America that the rest of us do not live in, but it is time to let her go and be just American. 

We do not care what Raven-Symoné says. We should be proud of our names. According to her Barack Hussein Obama should not be president based on his name alone. Ta-Nahesi Coates should not be on the New York Times’ Bestsellers List. Quvenzhané Wallis should not have been nominated for Oscar award. Taraji P. Henson should not be a leading actress in one of the most popular shows in America, Empire. Maybe Condoleeza Rice shouldn’t have been Secretary of State. Or Uzoamaka “Uzo” Aduba should not have been given the chance to read for Crazy Eyes and eventually winning an Emmy for that role. Basically, Raven-Symoné believes that we shouldn’t be judged by the color of their skin but our name on paper.

We, the black delegation, find this absurd and elitist. Therefore, take both of them. We don’t want anything in return. We thought about Matt McGorry from Orange Is The New Black and How to Get Away with Murder especially after he spoke out for Black Lives Matter movement. But we have to get our shit together. We have to learn to support each other no matter our shade, names and socio-economic positions. Before we can get to #AllLivesMatter we have to learn that #AllBlackLivesMatter. We have to create businesses to hire our own where our worth is not linked to the color of our skin or the names we write on our resumés or job applications but rather if we can do the job well. We have to take care of our own Maliks, Amirs, Shaniquas and Anisas one at a time. But in the meantime, we would like that 40 acres and a mule from the white delegation. 

 

Why SIYA’s New Mixtape ‘What Never Happened’ is DOPE!

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I’ve continuously listened to this mixtape for about 3 days straight. All I can say is that it is dope. From her life as a dealer to her creating her own lane in the music industry SIYA takes you a rollercoaster ride of  life, love, lost, and dopeness while being true to who she is.

SIYA joined the world renowned DJ Skee to deliver the dope mixtape, What Never Happened. You are a dope if you don’t listen to this mixtape, her follow-up to “Better Late Than Never”. Every mixtape SIYA releases is a glimpse in the life of Michele Sherman (her government name). This one is no different.

In “1997” she reminisces about growing up making references to the rappers who were popular in that year like Biggie, Jay Z and Big Pun as she raps about her experiences as a dope dealer. She doesn’t glorify her life as a dope dealer, but she introspectively verses about her former life as what she knew. In “Judge Me” SIYA flows about her haters, how they don’t know her to judge her and gives you a glimpse of her struggles as an independent artist in the public eye.

But it’s her lyrical prowess laced with straightforward honest that separates SIYA from other rappers. Like MC Lyte in her highlight SIYA cannot be compared to any female mainstream rapper. Not Nicki Minaj. Not Dej Loaf. Not Iggy Azalea. SIYA is creating her own lane in this music industry. In “Industry Interlude” SIYA talks about industry rule #4080 of ‘the record company people are shady!” A sample of DMX’s discontent with the music industry plays as she flows about the hypocrisy of the music industry and how she’s circumventing the conventional way of making money by ghostwriting for other rappers and doing shows for her fans.

Yes, SIYA’s openly lesbian, but as she raps about the ups and downs of her relationships, anyone can connect with the lyrics. For her experiences are universal. In “You Know That” SIYA raps about a complicated love where she messed up and want her back. But in “Know Better” she talks about giving her all to a girl who doesn’t deserve it. In “La’Golden” she speaks about loving that special woman. We’ve all been there no matter what our sexual orientation is.

The bottomline is SIYA continues to make her lane by putting out real dope music. Even though she can be introspective and sensitive, she still shows her street side in songs, “Come Get Your Bitch” and “Real Nigga Business”. Thus, giving this mixtape a balance between mainstream and hardcore rap which is rare in today’s hip-hop music.

SIYA is definitely on a mission to be heard and be recognized beyond Sisterhood of Hip-Hop reality season. The unconventional tutelage of R&B singer-songwriter, Tank, doped SIYA up to take on the music industry. Tank has helped SIYA to navigate the music industry while being authentic to herself.

Unlike the previous mixtape Better Late Than Never which featured big stars like Chris Brown and Problem, SIYA (and her talent) is at the center of attention. You should check out this mixtape below to hear SIYA’s progression as an artist and a human being.

A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Affordable Yet Stylish Clothing

When talking about fashion and style, many seem to think you have to spend their whole paycheck. Not at all. As Stacy London, fashion consultant warns: “Never confuse fashion and style. Fashion relies on unattainable looks on women with unrealistic bodies. Style is about utilizing the best aspects of you.” Style is about finding what looks best of you and showing it to the world. Style is not what you can’t wear. It’s about what you can wear with swag.

Here at The Gentlewoman Redefined we want you to look YOUR best not like the Instagram pages of shedoeshim, adapperchick or sheagent. We want you to find what works for you and rock it for the world to see. It’s about what suits you (pun intended).

We all want to look good. You’ve lost a little weight, and your clothes don’t fit anymore? You’ve want a more mature look? You want to change your style a little? But you don’t want to break the bank? This is for you.

Let’s venture away from your old faithfuls of Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Abercrombie & Fitch, and check out these online retailers. Those old faithfuls are cool to get a piece here or there, but you don’t want to look like a clone. It’s time to step it up when you’re stepping out and transform from a boi to a gentlwoman.

Here are a few online retailers we’ve found online that offer affordable yet stylish fashion: 6PM, Bluefly, Century 21, DSW, Gilt, H&M, Jack Threads and Uniqlo.

6pm

At 6PM, a subsidiary of Zappos, you can find all of your favorite brands in one place for 20-65%. Go on a daily guilt-free shopping spree as your indulge in the brands you love. You can find 7 For All Mankind and Seven7 jeans, Cole Haan and Versace shoes, Robert Graham and Just Cavalli button down shirts and Nike activewear for the low.

bluefly

If you want to upgrade to gentlewoman status, check out Bluefly for deals in suits. Bluffly carries over 350 brands at discounts of 20 – 75%. If you’re looking for quality without killing your pockets, check out this website.

century 21

Century 21 is a department store that features designer merchandise what 40-65% off retail every day.

DSW

Designer Shoe Warehouse is the place to go for great brands at a great value every day. With thousands of shoes for men in over 400 stores nationwide, DSW is about the thrill of finding the perfect shoe at the perfect price. To top it all off, DSW Rewards means shopping comes with perks-members ear points toward $10 Rewards certificates every time they shop.

Gilt

Gilt Groupe is a members-only site for sales. New sales last 36 to 48 hours and feature merchandise from a single brand or small groups of brands. Savings are up to 60% off the suggested retail price. Quantities are very limited, but you can preview items prior to sales launch.

h&m

H&M actually has a design team that creates sustainable fashion for all, always at the best price. H&M is modern, timeless, tactile and functional. Exploring the concept of style over fashion, you can find fashion pieces for the contemporary wardrobe. High-end design and quality are brought to everyone.

JackThreadsLogoAt Jack Threads they believe that looking great and feeling better shouldn’t be a chore and that a good-looking suit for your 9 to 5 shouldn’t force you to get a second job from 5 to 9. Everyday they feature a broad range of products that they can stand behind.

uniqlo

Uniqlo is Japan’s leading clothing retailer of casual wear. Its clothing designs become hot trends, for its team continuously monitors the latest fashion trends and styles.


But like everything, it’s how you wear it not what you wear that makes these clothes stylish.

If you know of any online retailers that can help your style and pocketbook, let us know. We want to hear from you.

What I’ve Learned about Relationships

Lately, I’ve been seeing these memes about relationship goals. Maybe it’s me, but I thought relationship goals shouldn’t be the obvious. Maybe society is too jaded that we haven’t figured out that what’s best for us individually is not what’s always promoted. Maybe I am old school. I don’t know, but I’ve seen long-term relationships work. I believe in cultivating a relationship.

Lately, I’ve talked to a few friends about what we all want in relationships. We’ve talked about the nitty gritty of relationships which require hard work, patience and trust. We’ve talked about how our past relationships and experiences sometimes affect our present and future if we allow it. But what I’ve learned there are no easy ways to maintaining and growing as individuals and as a couple. Relationships Are

I am fortunate to see my maternal grandparents happily married for 46 years until my grandfather died in ’90. I have an aunt & uncle close to that mark with celebrating 45 years of marriage this past August. Another aunt & uncle will be celebrating 39 years of marriage in November. And the youngest aunt on my maternal side has been married to her husband over 25 years, and I remember when they were just dating. So I have great examples of what long-term relationships can be.

In my 39 years on this earth I’ve realized that nothing is perfect. And nothing worth having is easy. This includes a loving, sustainable relationship. Two years ago I met an incredible woman who is perfect for me. That doesn’t mean we don’t argue or we don’t have our problems. We do, but every day we wake up, we choose each other. We choose this life together. For love is a choice. It’s not something that just happen to you. It’s something that the both of you decide to cultivate.

I’ve come up with a list to help you (the ones who say they want a good relationship) to not only maintain but grow a loving relationship:

  1. Pay attention to your relationship with yourself. You have to take time out for yourself. You’re an individual first. Before you can love anyone else, you have to love yourself. That person you want this relationship with should a person you can be your true self:. It doesn’t matter if you’re goofy, silly, honest, passionate, emotional, educated and/or lovable. Whomever you are that person will love your authentic self.
  2. Communication is key. Be honest and clear. You have to talk about everything not just the good but the bad, uncomfortable and down-right ugly. This is the best way to build trust and know if you can deal with each other. You also have to communicate to determine if you are compatible. Do you both want to get married? Do you both want kids? Do you both want to live in the city or in the suburbs? Are you both financially stable? You have to be honest with yourself if you can deal with a ‘no’.
  3. No one likes a bag lady. It’s time to leave your past in the past including your ex’s (girlfriends, boyfriends, lovers, booty buddies, etc) and the baggage that goes with it. You should definitely learn from your past, but don’t keep bringing up your ex in conversation. If you want a relationship to grow, you have to include her (your current) in your future.
  4. You cannot have a relationship without any fights, but you can make your relationship worth the fight. Please know that the honeymoon period fades. Yes, your partner will get on your nerves. (I’ve told my girlfriend that I always love her, but I don’t always like her. She responded with “That works both ways” with an devilish grin.) Let me tell you a little secret: love is not always “happily ever after”.
  5. You can never stop trying to show her how much she means to you even after you have her. My grandfather told me once, “It’s easy to get her. The real work starts when you have her.” You cannot forget to continue to date your lady. When’s the last time you took out pen and paper and wrote her a letter of how you feel about her? When’s the last time you surprised her with a home-cooked dinner? When the last time you wrote her a poem? ‘Roses are red/Violets are blue’ will still get a smile. Don’t get comfortable if she’s worth it.
  6. You have to love that person for who they are not the potential. You cannot fall in love with potential. Live in reality. You have to accept them just the way they are.
  7. Relationships last longer when everybody doesn’t know your business. I am not saying that you should hide your relationship, but intimate details, good or bad shouldn’t be on social media or shared with your friends. The only folks who should be in your relationship are you and your partner.
  8. There are no right or wrong way for a relationship. It’s what work for the two of you. Your relationship have to fit the needs of you and your partner not society, family or social media.

Again, love is choosing that special someone everyday as is. Choose wisely. Everyone deserves love, but are you willing to ask for what you want and then work for it when you have it? 

 

Blu Reine presents The Roux: A Spicy Burlesque Show

The Roux

It is the first anniversary of The Roux: A Spicy Burlesque Show. If you haven’t heard of The Roux, you’re missing out. The Roux is the brainchild of Blu Reine, a burlesque performer who decided that it was time to feature people of color. Actually, The Roux is the only burlesque show in the Gulf Coast that features a full cast of local, national and international performers of color.

Check out the performers and their bios by clicking their photos.

TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW. CLICK HERE!

It’s Time to Check Out The Internet

Last week my little (figuratively speaking) brother (actually just younger for he’s not so little anymore) asked me if I heard the latest The Internet album. Who? I’d never heard of The Internet. As I’ve gotten older I spend less and less time looking for new artists and new music. But if you haven’t heard of them, you should check them out. You’ll be happy that you did.

Ego DeathWith a little research on the Internet (Google and Wikipedia are useful), The Internet originally formed fours years ago as a side project for then Odd Future’s DJ/now The Internet’s lead  vocalist Syd Tha Kid and producer Matt Martians. With the single, “Long Song-1”, The Internet and its sound was introduced to the world. A few months later Purple Naked Ladies was released, creating a R&B hybrid of jazz, trip-hop, neo-soul and hip-hop. The Internet started as a duo but evolved into a full band with the addition of Patrick Paige II, Christopher Allan Smith, Jameel Bruner, and Tim Lancer.

Like Foreign Exchange, Janelle Monáe and fellow Odd Future’s brethren Frank Ocean before them, The Internet uses R&B as the bases but also draws influences from jazz, trip-hop and hip-hop. The Internet reminds us why we love R&B a musical commentary of relationships. But what’s different (maybe revolutionary) is Syd Tha Kid, a masculine of center lesbian sings directly to the women of her affection. In past interviews Syd Tha Kid downplays the importance of ‘gayness’ in her lyrics. She is comfortable with who she is, but she does not want it to overshadow The Internet and their music.

On June 30, 2015, The Internet released their third studio album, Ego Death. The result is enough to make a cynic fall in love with R&B again. Especially if you’re tired of listening to same ol’ R&B of Trey Songz or Chris Brown, please check out Ego Death as a healthy alternative. When you fall in love with that album, do yourself a favor and check out the first two albums, Purple Naked Ladies and Feel Good. You’ll hear the progress as artists and Syd Tha Kid’s vocals. In a nonconformist nature, The Internet identifies with an Afropunk alternative of R&B that draws from their blackness and their appreciation for an eclectic musical influences such as Kate Bush, Meshell Ndegeocello, The Roots and Bjork.

But it’s Syd Tha Kid’s unapologetic and honest lyrics that is the album’s strength. In songs, “Get Away” and “Under Control” the protagonist is trying to ease the her lover’s insecurities as she gets attention from others. With “Just Sayin’/I Tried” she slams a former lover by repeating “You fucked up” but feels at ease because she did everything she could to try to save the relationship. “Special Affair” is a playa anthem as a scenario of when you see a beautiful lady in the club you want and what you would say to her.  “Girl”, the album’s Kaytranada-assisted song is a sweet ode to a ‘girl’ that she deserves better than she is currently receiving, for all she has to do “tell ‘em you’re my girl/And anything you want is yours.”

Yes, it’s obvious Syd Tha Kid is a lesbian, but her lyrics are about human emotions of love, loss and lust. When it comes to love, we have to let go of our ego. Therefore, there is an ‘ego death’ for love to exist. Syd Tha Kid reminds us that you have to be honest with yourself and the person you want to have the authentic connection with that ‘Girl’. That is probably why anyone can relate to her storytelling.

What’s remarkable is that The Internet are just being unapologetically themselves. Syd Tha Kid can sing to women without fanfare from the LGBTQ community. Their music can transcend R&B and dabble into something familiar yet different. They can be a band of black kids who loves futuristic sounds of techno and trip hop while remaining true to their R&B and hip-hop base. Basically, they can be beautifully human and put out good music. Let’s continue to follow The Internet and get rid of our egos and just be free to be ourselves.

…living life on our own terms